For more than 25 years, I have been privileged to report on such a wide-range of issues and events; some joyful, some tragic, but all profoundly meaningful for me both professionally and personally. There are so many images burned into my memory from reporting in San Francisco's Marina district in the days after the Loma Prieta earthquake, to watching John Glenn blast off on-board the space shuttle at Cape Canaveral, to visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland with Bay Area holocaust survivors, and on and on and on. I have seen with my own eyes some of the most moving sights imaginable. I will never forget the eager, sweet faces of the children of the slums of Lima, Peru; so friendly and kind to a stranger from America even though they lived with a level of poverty we really don't understand in this country. I saw first-hand the overwhelming sense of elation and pride from the faithful in Mexico City as Pope John Paul visited for the first time.
One of my professional and personal highlights happened in Washington, a city I know well having spent a great deal of time there as a teenager and young adult. I have been to the White House as a tourist, but never as a reporter. I had that opportunity when I interviewed President Barack Obama in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House, the very room where FDR gave his iconic fireside chats. I was able to ask President Obama several questions in a one-on-one interview and then stand in front of the White House, lit up in the darkness, and report our conversation to the Bay Area. It was a remarkable experience for which I am very grateful.
There are also indelible marks made by the tragedies that I have reported from the scene over the years. Reporting from Littleton, Colorado the day after the Columbine High School massacre was a deeply emotional experience. My photographer, Cathy Cavey, was worried about what we would find there. It was such a heart-breaking place to be in the days following that tragedy but, at the same time, it was a privilege to have students, parents, and teachers trust us enough to tell their stories. We were moved to tears by what we saw and heard and we were so honored and touched when they brought us cookies and thanked us for being there. Incredible! I was the only broadcaster able to remain on the air the night Hurricane Hugo slammed into Charleston, South Carolina and the first one able to get back on the air in the hours after it had passed. It was a terrifying night as the wind roared like a freight train through the two-thousand foot transmitting tower directly above me. I could not imagine that the tower would not collapse right on top of us, but somehow it did not fall. Still, even in fear, the crew and I all stayed calm that night and did our best to inform and to comfort our viewers. I learned more about myself and my job in the two weeks after the storm than I had in the previous two years.
All of these magnificent experiences and opportunities and I could not have imagined any of them when I used to watch Walter Cronkite deliver the news each evening with my family. I thought as a teenager that being a journalist must be such an interesting profession, but never really thought about making it my reality until college. But once I got the bug, that's all it took.
That said, you know what they say about all work and no play! Balance in life is important after all. So, as busy as I am with my career, I do try to make time for other interests, which I have a bit more time to pursue these days now that our two sons are in college.
When I'm not working, you'll find me hanging out with my wife of 25 years, on the golf course with my good buddies, or writing and marketing screenplays with my youngest brother. My other major interest lately is music. I'm having a blast singing classic and original rock-n-roll at various festivals and events around the Bay Area with my band PUSH.
Heard any good music lately? Find me on Facebook and let me know! Or you can send me your ideas on what we should cover next. You can also follow me on Twitter.
DAN ASHLEY is anchor of ABC7 News at 5:00, 6:00, 9:00 & 11:00 p.m.
In his thirty years on television, Dan has reported on a wide-range of issues and events that affect our lives. As a journalist, Dan has covered stories all over the Bay Area, the country, and the world. Dan reported from Poland on the "March of the Living" with Bay Area holocaust survivors, and before that, reported from Marine Corp basic training at Camp Pendleton in San Diego. Other notable assignments include reporting live from New Hampshire and South Carolina for the state primaries and from Iowa for the state's caucus.
Dan came to ABC7 in 1995 as the weekday 5:00 p.m. news anchor and investigative reporter. He has received many industry awards, including the prestigious DuPont Columbia Award and the Edward R. Murrow Awards for excellence in journalism as well as numerous Emmy Awards for Best Newscast and Individual Reporting.
Dan began his television career at WTVD, the ABC owned television station in Durham, North Carolina. He then worked for WCBD-TV, the ABC affiliate in Charleston, where he was weekend anchor and later the 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. anchor.
Dan's distinguished work is recognized by many industry organizations, including Associated Press, United Press International, and the Press Club of Atlantic City. He has also received awards from the New Jersey and Atlanta chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
As an active member of the community, Dan serves on the boards of directors of many worthy organizations including The Bay Area Red Cross, The California Symphony, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), The Contra Costa County Crisis Center, The First Tee, among others. Additionally, he hosts the annual "Dan Ashley's Friends of Camp Concord Golf Tournament" which raises money to send under-served youngsters to summer camp. Dan also created the non-profit "Rock the CASA Foundation" to raise money through an annual concert to benefit the CASA organization among other charities.
Dan is a graduate of the University of North Carolina with degrees in English and Speech Communication.
As we sit down to a Thanksgiving meal, what makes you grateful?
France demonstrates grit and grace in the face of terror.
A first of its kind study from UC Davis found tiny plastic fibers, believed to come from manmade fabrics, turning up in water and fish.
As the City of Light faces tragedy, we must renew our resolve in the face of terror.
In this land of plenty, so many of our friends and neighbors go without. We can help.